Project to monitor public confidence in Immunization Programs
The purpose of the project is to monitor public confidence in immunization programs by building an information surveillance system for early monitoring and detection of public concerns around vaccines; applying a diagnostic tool to data collected to determine the risk level of public concerns in terms of their potential to disrupt vaccine programs; and, finally, by detecting public concerns early, to provide analysis and guidance for early response and engagement with the public to ensure sustained confidence in vaccines and immunization. This initiative is also defining a Vaccine Confidence Index (VCI) as a tool for countries.
The VCI is a measure, based on a select number of factors identified from extensive analysis of areas of both low and high vaccine coverage.
This index is useful for informing the design of immunization programmes and strategies and understanding more explicitly where to target both human and financial resources, which will allow for more efficiency.
The VCI is an important tool for routine immunization as well as the introduction of new and underutilized vaccines.
Despite the historic success of immunization in reducing the burden of childhood illness and death, episodes of public concerns and rumors around vaccines have occurred around the world, spreading quickly and sometimes seriously eroding public confidence in immunization and ultimately leading to vaccine refusals and disease outbreaks.
Although reports of public concerns and questions around the safety and relevance of vaccines have been on the increase, aside from monitoring of adverse events following immunization (AEFI), there is neither a systematic monitoring of broader public vaccine concerns nor a tool to assess risk levels of rumors and concerns to potential program disruptions, vaccine refusals and potential disease outbreaks.
This project seeks to address these unmet needs and monitor public confidence in immunization programs by listening for early signals of public distrust and questioning and providing risk analysis and guidance to engage the public early and pre-empting potential program disruptions.
The Group is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation